Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Song Review: Chammak Challo (Ra.One)
Composers: Vishal and Shekhar
(I'm not gonna bother with a YouTube link to the song just yet. Since the song was leaked online, it'll just keep getting removed. So search for it and I'm sure you'll find it!)
When I first heard that R&B superstar Akon would be recording a couple songs for Ra.One, I was afraid. Very afraid. It could either go terribly wrong, or have the potential to be a super hit (but probably nothing in between). Thankfully, "Chammak Challo" falls in the latter category!
If you're not familiar with Akon and his voice/style, it may take a while for you to warm up to the song. But I assure you--you will! The track starts off strong and is able to continue with the same strength until the very end, never losing it's high energy pace. It's surprisingly catchy and will probably get stuck in your head whether you like it or not.
Akon did an amazing job. First of all, he's a superstar in the American music scene, and is Senegalese-American. Despite his lack of complete familiarity with Bollywood and India, his Hindi pronunciation is really, truly impressive. There is no hint of an American accent in his Hindi lines (quite a feat!) and the words seem to flow naturally. Katrina Kaif could learn something from this guy! And even though Akon is singing for a different market and audience, he maintains his personal musical style in the song.
I usually hate when English is used in Bollywood songs. It tends to sound forced, unnatural, and the singers' Indian accents don't help much with that "cool" factor they're probably going for. "Chammak Challo" is the perfect example of how an English-Hindi fusion in a song can actually work. Akon's grasp of both languages defeats that usual awkwardness factor that comes out of these language fusion songs. The lyrics also help with this, with lingo English lingo that is popular in R&B songs and Hindi lyrics that are typical of Bollywood tracks.
The best part of this song? It's apparently going to be an item number picturized on Kareena Kapoor! This makes me happy for two reasons. One, I LOVE item songs with a passion. Two, I'm just glad they're not gonna have Shahrukh Khan lip synch to this (hopefully?!). I love love love SRK, but imagine the awkwardness that could come of out that. The chorus (my favorite part of the song) is also perfectly suited for a dance number, so I'm excited to see what could come of this.
"Chammak Challo" is a unique song, but one that is sure to be a hit. It's also a great marketing ploy for Ra.One, which will now get wider recognition within second generation NRI communities, as well as non-Indian Akon fans. It's a step forward in the current globalization of Hindi cinema--whether that's a good thing or not, is up to you.
Overall, I absolutely adore this song, despite my usual inhibitions about Western singers in Bollywood. Akon has reportedly also sung another song for Ra.One so, seeing as how this wasn't a disaster, I'm actually kind of excited to hear it. And yes, Akon, I'd love to be your Chammak Challo!
Final Verdict: 4.5/5